Gastric bypass hypnosis: does it really work?

Do you ever wonder how to get a gastric bypass without surgery? Around a decade ago, a phenomenon called “gastric bypass hypnosis” was introduced to the world. It was supposed to show the gastric bypass effect without surgery. But how reliable is it?

Hypnosis is not a magic trick to make you do things against your will. For hypnosis to work, you need to allow yourself to be hypnotized. In other words, you need to trick your own mind into believing that you went through the actual surgery. Meaning you will always be in control.

Hypnosis for weight loss takes convincing yourself regularly that the thing you are hypnotized for is real. For instance, if you do not believe in hypnosis, to begin with, it will never work. And if it does, it is just one glimpse of truth away from being broken.

What is gastric bypass hypnosis?

The technique of gastric bypass hypnosis involves the use of guided hypnosis to mimic the effects of gastric bypass surgery, with the goal of weight loss for obese people. In a gastric bypass hypnosis session, a hypnotherapist induces a deep state of relaxation in the patient and employs visualization techniques to encourage them to imagine their stomach is significantly smaller than its actual size. This method is used to create a sense of fullness with smaller amounts of food, leading to a decrease in calorie intake and rapid weight loss.

During weight loss hypnotherapy, you will be suggested a more physically active, healthy lifestyle and portion control. Along with that, you will be suggested to avoid food temptations, opt for healthy foods, and mend your relationship with food. Because mostly, excessive eating is a product of emotional eating. 

Currently, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of gastric bypass hypnosis as a weight loss method, despite the claims made by some people who have undergone gastric bypass hypnosis.

How is the hypnosis performed?

Gastric bypass hypnosis is performed by a trained hypnotherapist who helps an individual achieve a deep state of relaxation and heightened suggestibility. Of course, before beginning the process, a consultation takes place. During this consultation, the patient’s weight loss goals, medical history, and concerns about hypnosis are discussed. Then, the hypnotherapist guides the patient into a state of deep relaxation using techniques such as visualization and guided imagery.

The hypnotherapist suggests that the patient has had gastric bypass surgery, making them go through the procedure via visualization with a description of the surgery in this state of the subconscious mind. As a result, the patients believe they have gone through the surgery, their stomach is reduced in size, and their small intestine is rerouted. 

In order to keep the hypnosis up and running, the patients may need to have more sessions of weight loss hypnotherapy. This may be also because of the patient’s progress. To keep believing in such hypnosis, one needs to have a very creative mind. After all, this phenomenon works as long as you believe in it and you can trick your mind into thinking it is real.

Does it really help with weight loss at all?

In the long-term, no. It does not help to benefit from the effects of a gastric bypass without surgery. There aren’t enough scientific data to support its effectiveness compared to gastric bypass. However, in some studies, some people indeed lost weight. But since it was not clinically significant, it was discontinued. Because the hypnosis treatment only worked for a while and required more sessions to make it last.

Some people who have undergone gastric bypass hypnosis claim that they have successfully lost weight. When you break it down, it is just pure determination and loyalty to a new lifestyle. Once you stop reminding yourself you have undergone gastric bypass without actually undergoing the surgical procedure, it is highly likely you will spiral back to old habits and portions.

Does it mean diet could work without surgery?

A gastric bypass diet without surgery may work, yes. But it should be tailored to your needs and health status. The portions and calorie intake are very low for this diet. And if not monitored properly, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.

All stages of this post-op diet should be followed accordingly if you wish to make it work, even without having the surgery. Whatever you may choose to go with, you should consult a certified dietitian before going through anything. This way your unique diet plan can be prepared accordingly with your needs.

Nevertheless, the diet without the surgery may not have as dramatic results. And it may not even make you stop right after you start feeling full. In some cases, people have even undergone aversion therapies to make themselves stop eating junk food or stop eating after starting to feel full. Which is a whole other story.

Are hypnosis and aversion therapy the same thing?

No, hypnosis and aversion therapy are not the same thing. They both are about reshaping the mind to get rid of unwanted behavior. But their methods are not even close to each other.

Hypnosis is a state of heightened focus and suggestibility. During hypnosis, the patient may be more open to suggestions and can experience changes in perception and indirectly in thought and behavior. Losing weight, for instance.

Aversion therapy is a type of behavior therapy. It aims to eliminate unwanted behavior or bad habits by associating them with literal traumas. For instance, a song that you absolutely despise may be played during an activity that you are trying to get rid of. Or in extreme cases, they might give you Ipecac (a medicine that makes people vomit) while making you eat junk food. So, aversion therapies are not so popular, as they are occasionally used for unethical purposes and can develop or increase anxiety in the patient.

Is it as effective as a gastric bypass?

No, gastric bypass hypnosis is not as effective as the actual weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass procedure alters the metabolism and certain hormone productions, like the hunger hormone ghrelin. Hypnosis can in no way affect the production of hormones and boost metabolism. In short, gastric bypass hypnosis is not a reliable method to reach your goal weight.

Also, gastric bypass can help with diseases associated with being overweight, such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, etc. While hypnosis may help you eat less, its effects will never be as effective as gastric bypass, meaning its effects on health issues related to being overweight may not get better, or will not be resolved as quickly. If the issue at hand requires immediate action, hypnosis comes nowhere near the gastric bypass.

Why do people choose this option?

People choose this option mostly because they have been misinformed. Other than that, other factors such as the cost of the surgery, and the unrealistic fear of the surgery and recovery process inserted into them. Those are totally understandable. And that is why everyone should know the truth behind all of these treatments.

Gastric bypass is a safe surgery. It has very low complication risks. And if the price is the issue, consorting health tourism can be recommended. For instance, having a gastric bypass in health tourism landmark Turkey can be budget-friendly, even more than gastric bypass hypnosis.

Recovery from this procedure is also nothing to be scared of. Every part of it, from diet to exercise, is tailored specially for patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery and is observed by a professional team of doctors and dietitians, unlike hypnosis. So, while you may experience a bit of discomfort in the early stages, you will have a smooth ride along your weight loss journey.

Stradling J, Roberts D, Wilson A, Lovelock F. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy for weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. 1998;22(3):278-281.

Greetham S, Goodwin S, Wells L, et al. Pilot Investigation of a Virtual Gastric Band Hypnotherapy Intervention. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2016;64(4):419-433.

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